I missed this earlier. Naturally, the writer tries to pretend the cancellations are only one side of a positive story about Obamacare rather than a disaster:
Health plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies.
The main reason insurers offer is that the policies fall short of what the Affordable Care Act requires starting Jan. 1. Most are ending policies sold after the law passed in March 2010. At least a few are canceling plans sold to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
By all accounts, the new policies will offer consumers better coverage, in some cases, for comparable cost — especially after the inclusion of federal subsidies for those who qualify. The law requires policies sold in the individual market to cover 10 “essential” benefits, such as prescription drugs, mental health treatment and maternity care. In addition, insurers cannot reject people with medical problems or charge them higher prices. The policies must also cap consumers’ annual expenses at levels lower than many plans sold before the new rules.
That last paragraph is angering. Read that lead in sentence again: “in some cases” is the best they can say even with “the inclusion of federal subsidies” for hoping consumers are offered “better coverage.” Then follows the list of things that people had decided not to buy before but are now forced to do so.
An estimated 14 million people purchase their own coverage because they don’t get it through their jobs. Calls to insurers in several states showed that many have sent notices.
Florida Blue, for example, is terminating about 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies in the state. Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 people – about half of its individual business in the state. Insurer Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20 percent of its individual market customers, while Independence Blue Cross, the major insurer in Philadelphia, is dropping about 45 percent.
The numbers alone get near a half million people who are losing their insurance. I’m one of them in the Midwest. I can tell you with certainty that being forced to pay for health insurance you can’t afford feels like being robbed. That is because you are being robbed. Across the nation how many million have been robbed?
You get robbed twice. First, the product you chose to purchase is taken from you not by economic forces but by political whims. Second, you are then forced to pay–taxed! according to our Supreme Court–for a product you don’t want and which you had decided you couldn’t afford.
I don’t think the backers of this plan understand the psychological forces they are unleashing on themselves.